Friday, June 14, 2024
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J&K council polls acid test for coalition

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Jammu: As Jammu and Kashmir gears up for elections to the four seats in the 36-member legislative council Dec 3, campaigning is at its peak with each party trying to consolidate its position in the upper house.

Even the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (JKPC) has withdrawn its call to boycott the polls. JKPC chairman Shafiq Mir said: “The organisation (legislative council) stands for the democratic principles of the Indian constitution. Hence, and for the sake of larger democracy, we are withdrawing the boycott.”

However, he clarified that JKPC would not support any particular group or individual and asked panchayats and panches to vote for whoever they wanted to.

Of the 36 seats in state legislative council, six — four from the panchayat quota and two from local bodies — are lying vacant since the last panchayat polls in 2011.

Thirty-seven candidates are contesting from Jammu region and Kashmir valley, including a big chunk of independents. The electorate for the council polls comprises 33,540 elected panches and sarpanches (village council members and heads), with 15,628 in Jammu region and 17,912 in the Kashmir Valley. Votes would be cast through electronic voting machines (EVM) at 286 polling booths. Votes would be counted Dec 6. Each panchayat member would cast two votes: one each for two candidates of the area. Though the 2011 panchayat polls were held on non-party basis, “political parties did back their candidates”, said Rekha Choudhary, professor of the political science in Jammu University. (IANS)

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